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The Rehearsal - Nathan Fielder's new HBO series

Started by Small Man Big Horse, June 25, 2021, 09:11:24 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Memorex MP3

HBO have always had a great development stream haven't they? Things like getting a veteran like Paul Simms involved in Girls to flesh it all out.

HBO feels like it has had a lot of good shit lately. I wonder if enough people were burned by projects at Netflix or wherever that HBO have regained their status as the go to place.
Like, it mightnt get as many eyes as on Netflix but you're gonna be working with people who will actually know how to improve your ideas.


Ant Farm Keyboard

Except that HBO is now in the middle of another corporate restructuring after the Warner Discovery merger. HBO itself may be comparatively safe but plans for an HBO Max launch in several countries are now on hold because corporate wants to see first how to combine the two brands in one service, possibly under a new name. And they're at the eve of massive layoffs in the US.

The Rehearsal wasn't affected, as it most likely wrapped months ago, but Nathan may still have to discuss with new guys about his plans for a second season (provided that Discovery wants to screw with HBO, while they're one of solid moneymakers within Warner Bros).

sevendaughters

I showed my 16 year old brother-in-law 1 x episode of N4Y and The Rehearsal last night and he loved both.

Petey Pate

Quote from: sevendaughters on July 31, 2022, 09:54:15 AMWe're in our third decade of reality television as a concentrated format and plank of television output, selective editing for meannness, cruelty, aspiration, success, etc. abounds in those formats and has developed into a further strand of 'constructed reality'. Here is a show that doesn't just parody it, it lays it all out, from casting to prompting to rehearsing to manipulating etc. Likely the educated viewer of the show knows all of this, but the reminder of the effort it takes to cohere a false reality is worthwhile and is funny in itself.

I think this is one of the main reasons why people find Nathan's show uncomfortable, unlike most reality TV, it wears its deceptiveness on its sleeve. I'm not sure if that makes it more justifiable than typical TV shows which make 'real' people look foolish and unhinged but the open depiction of the amount of manipulation involved in The Rehearsal somehow makes their involvement seem more humiliating. That said, it's hard to feel sympathetic towards an antisemitic 'gold digger' or a deranged Christian conspiracy theorist, so if they are perceived as 'victims' they're at least more deserving of it. It's also incredibly funny. Does that excuse any of the dubious morals of creating the show? I honestly can't say.

Haven't seen anyone else point this out but it seems clear to me that the premise of this series was anticipated in the Finding Frances episode of Nathan For You, where they rehearsal how Bill should go about his reunion with Frances. On that note, this bit always kills me and just thinking about it makes me giggle.

https://youtu.be/Z2IS9c9ZtSw

sevendaughters

Quote from: Petey Pate on August 01, 2022, 12:52:27 PMHaven't seen anyone else point this out but it seems clear to me that the premise of this series was anticipated in the Finding Frances episode of Nathan For You, where they rehearsal how Bill should go about his reunion with Frances. On that note, this bit always kills me and just thinking about it makes me giggle.

https://youtu.be/Z2IS9c9ZtSw

I think that rehearsal scene with Bill in the final episode is probably the best concentrated bit of Fielder to date. I think it is sublime. Hate the cliche, but I don't think you could write that for how well it went.

Agree that this likely influenced The Rehearsal as a show, but I'd also say The Anecdote and a couple of others - the Richards Tip, the one where his personality gets focus-grouped, The Hero, The Hunk - have some relationship on a lower level.


Ferris

Quote from: Memorex MP3 on August 01, 2022, 03:26:45 AMHBO have always had a great development stream haven't they? Things like getting a veteran like Paul Simms involved in Girls to flesh it all out.

HBO feels like it has had a lot of good shit lately. I wonder if enough people were burned by projects at Netflix or wherever that HBO have regained their status as the go to place.
Like, it mightnt get as many eyes as on Netflix but you're gonna be working with people who will actually know how to improve your ideas.

If anyone has access to HBO, can I recommend We Own This City? Spiritual sequel to the Wire and while it doesn't match up, at times it is very good and worth a watch.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Own_This_City

QDRPHNC

#186
Quote from: Petey Pate on August 01, 2022, 12:52:27 PMThat said, it's hard to feel sympathetic towards an antisemitic 'gold digger' or a deranged Christian conspiracy theorist, so if they are perceived as 'victims' they're at least more deserving of it.

Mm, I don't know if I can go along with that. I think the idea that someone with shitty opinions deserves their public humiliation (which is unrelated to their shitty opinions) is a questionable road to go down.

As for whether or not they were humiliated any worse than a more standard reality show... hard to say. For me, one of the things that made the first episode so good, was that Kor was so relatable. He was eccentric, but seemed nice enough. We could relate to this issue he had blown out of all proportion in his head. And the comedy came from the fact that Fielder sort of took his issue at face value and let it bloom into something brilliant. Fielder was manipulating Kor, but in a relatively harmless and playful way that ultimately helped him get over what is a very minor hurdle in the grand scheme.

I thought the Patrick segment was pretty unpleasant, due to the fact that it was pure manipulation of someone clearly in emotional pain, with I think a very shaky justification for doing so. With Angela as well, annoying as she is, I'm getting a sense that the show is punching down a bit, so maybe that's the reason I'm having a hard time with it.

All that being said, Fielder is a talented guy and it's quite possible that this is all some kind of intentional set-up. We'll see.

Ron Superior

I didn't see the gold digging scene with Patrick as cruel because I actually saw it as a kind of redemptive scene for him. I was pretty shocked by his casual use of the whole Jew discussion, and seeing him offer to help some old guy he'd just met, and then actually changing his nappy in a pretty caring and understanding way, backed up his argument about how much he'd helped his own grandfather. I definitely saw it as a redemption, rather than a "punishment" or prank or whatever, for him.

And while we don't know how the editing worked with the end of his participation in the show, it would at least seem that he did get help in facing the real issue of properly confronting his brother.

Ferris

Quote from: Ron Superior on August 01, 2022, 05:40:15 PMI didn't see the gold digging scene with Patrick as cruel because I actually saw it as a kind of redemptive scene for him. I was pretty shocked by his casual use of the whole Jew discussion, and seeing him offer to help some old guy he'd just met, and then actually changing his nappy in a pretty caring and understanding way, backed up his argument about how much he'd helped his own grandfather. I definitely saw it as a redemption, rather than a "punishment" or prank or whatever, for him.

And while we don't know how the editing worked with the end of his participation in the show, it would at least seem that he did get help in facing the real issue of properly confronting his brother.

Yeah, very much my opinion too.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: QDRPHNC on August 01, 2022, 02:34:25 PMMm, I don't know if I can go along with that. I think the idea that someone with shitty opinions deserves their public humiliation (which is unrelated to their shitty opinions) is a questionable road to go down.

As for whether or not they were humiliated any worse than a more standard reality show... hard to say. For me, one of the things that made the first episode so good, was that Kor was so relatable. He was eccentric, but seemed nice enough. We could relate to this issue he had blown out of all proportion in his head. And the comedy came from the fact that Fielder sort of took his issue at face value and let it bloom into something brilliant. Fielder was manipulating Kor, but in a relatively harmless and playful way that ultimately helped him get over what is a very minor hurdle in the grand scheme.

I thought the Patrick segment was pretty unpleasant, due to the fact that it was pure manipulation of someone clearly in emotional pain, with I think a very shaky justification for doing so. With Angela as well, annoying as she is, I'm getting a sense that the show is punching down a bit, so maybe that's the reason I'm having a hard time with it.

All that being said, Fielder is a talented guy and it's quite possible that this is all some kind of intentional set-up. We'll see.

I think that was very well-put. There's something "off" about it for me too, in a way I never really felt in Nathan For You. Perhaps because the overall tone is more somber and the presumed emotional involvement of the participants is much higher, it's less easy to laugh off what might feel a bit sneering or mean-spirited. I also think that in Nathan For You some of the oddness of its business owners was an unexpected bonus, whereas here it's almost as if they've cast it the other way around: "Let's find a Christian conspiracy theorist, she'll be bound to give us stuff to laugh at." Of course it's not as if NFY never cast with this in mind (Bill Gates, The Movement guy etc.), but rarely did it seem like they were seeking out business owners purely to mock them, or "gently leading" them to open themselves up for it.

That said, I feel as though the participants in this one have to be very aware of what Fielder's doing (unless they really decided to not investigate any of his previous work), and I wouldn't be surprised if they were essentially acting. That could very well be a revelation at some point, we'll have to see, but I'm not instantly in love with it the way I was with Nathan For You or How To...With John Wilson, even though they both tread a similarly rocky path.

colacentral

The difference is the recruitment criteria: in NFY it was small business owners; in this, it's inherently people with serious mental issues, which makes it slightly uncomfortable. As you said, it's more obvious that they've gone out of their way to find people to laugh at rather than "We need someone who owns a petrol station to do this rebate thing."

That said, I still find it hilarious. One of my bigger laughs in that one was the needless added detail of "... when we were watching Dragonball Z," and the constant cut aways to the fucked irrigation system that Nathan clumsily assembled.

I feel like that guy never really ran away from the show. I'm thinking the confrontation with his brother was uneventful so they came up with a reason to not show it.

Ferris

I disagree - in NFY, the setup was business owners who for one reason or another are feeling the pinch and willing to try some Hail Mary shit from a guy with really good grades to keep their business afloat (and they pretty much all sank not long after).

This has a far more general pool of applicants who have lots more scope to say "nah actually you're alright" and walk away than if your business is fucked and you're relying on some wacky consultant to keep it going.

If anything, the "setup" shows the gold digger guy in a much more positive light than the interview where he voluntarily chucks in an antisemitic stereotype - he's generous with his time, and willing to help and old bloke he doesn't know.

The Crumb

See, the old guy pretending to cack himself is the bit that convinced me Patrick was a plant. Or the old actor was very committed to the part.

The Mollusk

What the fuck even is this show, what was that episode? So utterly unique but left me with a lot of confronting feelings. I was astonished for at least a couple of different reasons.

Anyway I sort of get the feeling that
Spoiler alert
in agreement with/to expand on what some others have said, there is a larger thread motivating this whole project, a broad comment on something which obviously is growing week by week.

My thinking personally is that it's tying in commentaries on fake news, blurred lines between real/fake in politics and culture, and how people are more geared towards wanting everything to go exactly how they want and letting themselves believe whatever lifestyle they're living or whatever content they're consuming is the right path, despite surely knowing on a deeper level that they're denying themselves so much. Is it a fatigue which is symptomatic of the state of the world we live in?
[close]

I'm finding it hard to articulate because I'm quite fried from the meds I'm taking and it's late but I dunno, maybe that makes sense and I haven't just spouted a load of stupidly obvious guff.

Fuck, yeah I can't think straight at all. Fucking steroids. Going to try and do some yoga and sleep.

PlanktonSideburns

Question I've been thinking and would love to hear your response :

If you were asked to go on Nathan's show, would you do it? I'm a massive fan, and not mega worried about looking like a prat, but still, not sure

Ferris

Quote from: PlanktonSideburns on August 02, 2022, 01:36:08 AMQuestion I've been thinking and would love to hear your response :

If you were asked to go on Nathan's show, would you do it? I'm a massive fan, and not mega worried about looking like a prat, but still, not sure

Absolutely not.

If I had a business on its arse and a telly business consultant came along to try and help out... maybe? I like to think I'd ask a lot more questions about the intentions and final edit but maybe I'm just giving myself a load of credit for no reason.


Vitalstatistix

I would've liked episode 3 to have been funnier and slightly less depressing. The gold-digger stuff just felt like a weaker NFY segment. For me the bloke clearly knew it was all fake and was just going along with it until he couldn't be arsed anymore then bailed anticlimactically.

I got a thrill from the fast-growing veggies and ageing mirror and hope it leans into the surreal more in the final few episodes and goes full Synecdoche. Show's still class though, obvs.

sevendaughters

The fakeness of that section was so egregious and yet it clearly led to producing something real in Patrick inasmuch as his rehearsal straight after that was different, dare I say more emotionally authentic and cathartic. I loved the whole bit and it just exposes (comedically, on purpose) that you cannot replicate the stakes in a real exchange.

notjosh

I don't think this series uses any actors except the ones it's open about. Have you ever seen an actor acting? You can channel flick onto the greatest actor in the world and within 5 seconds you can spot their acting. Most actors are not good at looking like they are not acting.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: notjosh on August 02, 2022, 09:34:10 PMI don't think this series uses any actors except the ones it's open about. Have you ever seen an actor acting? You can channel flick onto the greatest actor in the world and within 5 seconds you can spot their acting. Most actors are not good at looking like they are not acting.

I don't think they're "actors", but I do suspect there's more to it than them simply being real people behaving as they would normally. It doesn't take much acting skill to exaggerate aspects of your own personality or adopt personality traits you're familiar with, especially with good direction. That's also partly the premise of the show, I suppose.

I'm specifically thinking of the numbers guy and Anjela here. I think at the very least they were instructed to be "extra" about certain things, and I don't believe the experiments are actually happening the way they're presented. Everything is planned out, and they would have to be in on it to some degree, a lot more than what we're shown. It's not a documentary series, despite its presentation.

Dog Botherer

dunno about Angela but there were some videos going around Twitter along with posts from someone claiming to be his brother which seem to suggest the numbers guy is exactly as bonkers and performative as he appears on the show, to the point where the brother had cut off contact with him.

Ron Superior

Yeah, I saw those vids and tweets about Robbin and he was indeed just as ridiculous so I'm not sure about playing up or going along with anything, but I have to agree with them having had everything planned out. Just because if Nathan co-raising the kids wasn't part of the plan I'm not sure what the series would have been.

backdrifter

Oh wow. LOVED ep4 and definitely laughed the most during it.

sevendaughters

I though ep4 was the least directly funny but I got a lot from it. The show isn't interested in being a bang after bang comedy show, it occupies a different space. It was structured a bit like a mid-season episode of N4Y though, with two separate bits for half the show each.

Favourite moment from watch one

Spoiler alert
"Bananas under the cans?"
[close]

Memorex MP3

Thought episode 4 was a bit of a slog, I reckon they'll have figured out a very good ending to the season but the general sense I'm getting is that not enough things went right to fill up a season.

Half wonder if all the stuff with Thomas was explicitly to pad things out after a few other angles fell flat or got cut short. Seemed an awful lot easier to orchestrate, the rewards were pretty low and I can't imagine they ever seemed like they'd be much more than what we got either.

g0m

i loved episode 4. when i noticed that
Spoiler alert
thomas and another student were one of the emts at the od
[close]
i had to rewatch that scene like three more times

Wow. That was amazing :D It had everything!
Smiling all the way through. If that was the crest of the wave, I'll be happy. Looking forward to next weeks!

QDRPHNC


Ferris

Quote from: g0m on August 06, 2022, 11:14:24 PMi loved episode 4. when i noticed that
Spoiler alert
thomas and another student were one of the emts at the od
[close]

That's amazing, completely missed that.